“Forgery is supposed to be a criminal offence,” says Stan Buell, of the Small Investor Protection Association. “But you could count on the fingers of one hand the people who have been charged criminally or sent to jail. It doesn’t happen.”
Document Forgery in Financial Industry More Common Than You’d Think, Past Employees Say
Employees in Canada’s financial industry are speaking out about falsifying documents, telling Go Public that potentially criminal acts — like forging and photocopying customer signatures, adding initials to blank documents and using Wite-Out to conceal information — are more common than most people would think.
“It was easily 85 per cent of the back sales team doing it,” says a former CIBC financial services representative, who worked in several bank branches and noted that forging signatures on documents occurred at all her workplaces. CBC has agreed to conceal her identity.
‘You feel pretty awful knowing that you could have caused some serious harm to [customers] all in the name of profit for a bank.’ – Former CIBC employee
The former employee, who left the bank last spring, says when she couldn’t meet sales targets, her manager told her to forge customers’ initials so it appeared that they had agreed to purchase insurance when they applied for a credit card, then cancel it a week or so later.
She also says a financial adviser who handled wealthy clients asked her almost two dozen times to forge customer signatures for insurance on loans, telling her his clients would never notice extra charges.
She says she finally quit because of stress and growing remorse.
“You feel pretty awful knowing that you could have caused some serious harm to them [customers] all in the name of profit for a bank.”